Too bad it wasn’t the other way around: hard to spend money and easy to lose weight, right? Why is it just the opposite? We spend money on food and then we get it back in the form of fat (unless we’re really active and good about all of our food choices) — and I’m guessing that most of us can afford to lose a bit of weight.
How much do you spend out on an average day at work or on the weekend? For example:
- $3.00 (approx). for a grande Starbucks coffee with milk or soy
- $12.00 (approx.) for a simple entree and drink at an upscale “fast-food” restaurant
- $4-5 beer after work
- $1.50 weekend paper
- $10 parking in the city
- $5.00 (at least) round-trip public transit in city
I could go on and on, but you can fill in whatever your own costs are for being out and about either at work or just running errands on the weekend. Many others have written about the unnecessary costs of just having a job. A lot of these costs come from eating out.
Imagine being able to kill two birds with one stone: cut down your food spending bill as well as cut back on your calories. I bet that most of us who are motivated to get ahead financially are also motivated in other areas of our lives that need to be improved – like eating right and getting fit. As an example, check out my friend Matt’s story about how he and his wife have been using beans to cut down on their bills and improve their health! (He just told me on Twitter (@MoneyEnergy) that he and his wife have lost weight and are saving about $100/month from eating beans with everything!)
But there is also a somewhat more extreme way to combine both of these goals – fasting!
Financial Fasting For Financial Fitness
Health enthusiasts will already be aware of the key benefits of fasting, but I’ll repeat just some of them here as a reminder:
- fasting allows your body a chance to catch up on its natural healing processes
- fasting will help you with digestion: clear out the internal plumbing!
- fasting helps regulate your cravings mechanisms by getting you used to an empty stomach
- if you fast, you’ll tend to want to relax at home; helping prevent unnecessary spending
- fasting will help you de-stress, make you tired and help you get the rest you need
I’ve tried fasting before myself. When I was about 12 or 13, I participated in a hunger fundraiser and my friend and I didn’t eat for 30+ hours (which isn’t much of a fast for those used to fasting). More recently, just last year I did a day-long fast. Before that I stuck it out a bit longer than that. Ideally I’d like to fast once a month. It just makes sense when you consider everything we put our bodies through.
The financial benefits might seem negligible, but they’re obvious: the less you eat, the less you have to spend money on food. I’m not advocating a diet of deprivation here. Those who fast might only do so one day a month or even one day a week. It’s not a good idea to do it more frequently than that without the support of a health professional.
But even a once-a-week fast can offer financial benefits if you also take the day to rest at home and decouple from the rest of the world. Take some time to walk your dog, work in the garden, and generally get your body caught up on its rest. At the same time, you can make the day a “no-spend” day in order to achieve “double” the benefits of this “day off.” Matt has another great article on this aspect of “financial fasting,” too, that I recommend you read. I estimate that if you did it once a week, you could arrange to save at least $100/month on extraneous food costs like some of those mentioned above.
Should you choose to try a day-long fast, I have some basic tips on what to expect and how to get the most from it:
- drink lots of water: it helps your body detoxify
- if you’re new to fasting, you’re going to feel sluggish and even tired
- It’s not a good day for doing anything that requires mental concentration or great personal effort
- on the day you fast, do some cleaning in the morning, read in afternoon, then go to bed early
- be sure the day after your fast is not a hectic one either
- good idea to combine the fast with beginning or end of a vacation or other break
I’ve been trying to plan a day-long fast for a while now, and hopefully I’ll be able to get to one soon. It does have to be planned, because it is a unique form of stress (albeit a healthy stress) on your body. I’m going to use it as a no-spending day, I’m not going to drink any coffee, and I’m going to use it to catch up on some much-needed rest. It’s also a good day for doing a media fast. You could also use it for doing an online/computer fast. Anyone else with me on that? Would be great to hear your own “financial fasting” stories.Related Posts
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